This week, the Jewish Federations of North America held its annual General Assembly in Washington, DC. This GA, as it is commonly called, was really special for those of us from Pittsburgh. It was chaired by Cindy and David Shapira and we brought a great delegation of 42 participants, the largest in my time in Pittsburgh.
The theme of the entire GA was “Jewish Journeys Start Here”. Our Pittsburgh group of volunteer leaders and professionals both learned from and shared our expertise with others. The opening plenary featured our own Cindy and David sharing their personal Jewish journeys that brought them to where they are in their commitment to making the Jewish world a better place.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks implored us about the need for Jewish unity in a time when our nation and world has become so polarized and divided. I continue to reflect deeply on his powerful speech when I think about our Pittsburgh Jewish community. We luckily have that diversity and cooperation. I experienced it just last night at our Federation Board meeting with younger and older, city and suburban, Democrats and Republicans, Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and non-denominational Jews represented. All came to work together and to think about our Pittsburgh Jewish community and our Jewish people.
We must model what Rabbi Sacks said. We have too much to do for our Jewish world to allow this polarization to seep into our Jewish community. And as I like to say, it’s about unity, not uniformity.